Summer Blog Break

Posted July 28, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Uncategorized

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We interrupt this blog for breaking news. “Humor Me” is taking a summer blog break. It will return the first week of September to continue to inform and entertain the masses. See you then!

Luck

Posted July 21, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Award-Winning Books

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Who says I’m not lucky?

I was contemplating on what to blog about this week when I suddenly realized I had the answer in my hands all the while. I’m talking about the book I just finished reading. The Thing About Luck is a National Book Award winner written by Cynthia Kadohata, who is also a Newbery Medal winner. This middle-grade novel has diversity, a youthful crush, an intergenerational relationship, and moral dilemmas.

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Summer, the main character in the story, is convinced that her family is stuck with bad luck. An unusual case of malaria, parents who must return to Japan to take care of relatives who are dying, worry about a mortgage that must be paid, a younger brother with challenges, and a harvest season spent with very traditional Japanese grandparents, are some of the difficult situations in which Summer finds herself. Through all this, Summer begins to understand her complicated relationship with her demanding grandmother, and she manages to find the strength she needs to help her family. Cynthia Kadohata has done a superb job of creating believable characters who are funny and endearing. Make this book your lucky pick!

Sage Advise From Abraham Lincoln

Posted July 14, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: ,

Recently, I made a trip back to my hometown of Lincoln, Illinois. Having been named in honor of Abraham Lincoln, the town is filled with his memorabilia. Lincoln was a wise and witty individual who had the ability to inspire others. Below are some thought-provoking quotes from Lincoln that can be applied to our lives today.

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America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we, as a people, can be engaged in.

The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak out and remove all doubt.

What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.

My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of Earth.

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Do You Have a Plan?

Posted July 7, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Award-Winning Books

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Do you have a plan? I have one. I want to read this picture book.

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Shh! We Have A Plan is written and illustrated by Chris Haughton. It’s an award-winning book published in 2014 by Candlewick Press. It’s been on my list to read for quite some time. I now have it. I’ve read it. Might I say, WOW! Chris Haughton conceived an idea, and in 102 words he created an amazing picture book.

 

Four friends see a bird they want to catch. They make a plan, but the littlest friend isn’t quite on track with their idea. Shh! Don’t tell, but each time the friends try to catch the bird, they bungle it. They try again and again with no success. The littlest friend has a simple plan of his own that works. Birds galore appear. His friends are thrilled until a BIG bird comes along. They run. The end result is no bird – nothing – until a squirrel appears. Do the friends have another plan?

 

Shh, don’t tell anyone, but this review is longer than Chris Haughton’s entire story. The simplicity, subtle humor, and illustrations which are done in blues and bright colors make this book a winner. If you haven’t read it, make a plan to get it today!

It’s All About Lincoln

Posted June 30, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Life and Family

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Last weekend, the Stefanec siblings did a fly and road trip to the town in which we grew up. Brother and sisters came together from California, New Hampshire, Florida, and Wisconsin for a three-day weekend. Our brother had his high school reunion, and the rest of us decided it was a perfect time for a get-together in our hometown.

Going home again can be both a nostalgic and an eye-opening experience. Besides all the belly laughs we shared, we revisited the nooks and crannies of the town that were a very important part of our formative years. “Humor Me” as I share what we saw.

Welcome to Lincoln, Illinois!

It was the first town to be named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous. On August 27, 1853, Lincoln christened the town with watermelon juice. Sweet!

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Postville Courthouse

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This replica of the original Postville Courthouse can be found on Fifth Street in Lincoln. It’s the place where Lincoln tried cases while he traveled the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Central Illinois.

Across the street from the courthouse is the well which was used by Lincoln when court was in session. Well, isn’t that refreshing!

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Near the grade school, all of the Stefanecs attended is this plaque that commemorates a Stephen A. Douglas Speech.

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Statues of Lincoln can be found all around the town.

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At Lincoln College

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At the Lincoln Heritage Museum

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At the Town Square with my sister

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Along Historic Route 66

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Did you know Lincoln split rails and the local high school nickname is the Lincoln Railers?IMG_0953

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Quirky Lincoln

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Notice the telephone booth on top of City Hall. It was placed there before new weather technology came along. When there was threatening weather, a spotter was sent up there to watch for tornadoes and call downstairs for someone to activate the siren. That just blows me away!

A Little Nostalgia for the Stefanecs

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Our House

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Our Church

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Our Grade School

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Our Favorite Pizza Place

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The Old Lincoln Theater – the only one in town!

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The Logan County Courthouse and Town Square

The nostalgic part of our trip was being with our family, seeing old friends, and reminiscing. The eye-opening part, which was heartbreaking to see, was realizing the once thriving community we used to live in was not the same as it once was. Streets were devoid of cars and people. Stores were shuttered, and jobs are harder to find.  Many of the people we grew up with have left. It’s a sad but true sign of the times for some small towns. Lincoln will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m happy to have lived there when I did!

If your family is interested in learning more about Abraham Lincoln, check out this site for The 10 Best Children’s Books on Abraham Lincoln.

Summer Reading

Posted June 23, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Summer Reading

Tags: , , , ,

Summer reading. Share the adventure!

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Check out these websites for some great summer reading choices for kids.

Summer Reading Guide 2016 Ages 0-12

Science is for Girls:  25 Books About Female Scientists  

The New York Times® Bestsellers:  Children’s Picture Books 

ALSC Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading Lists for Kids Ages 6-14

100 Best Books Every Boy (and Girl) Should Read 

 

 

 

 

Dream the Impossible

Posted June 16, 2016 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , , ,

I love the theater – especially musical theater. On Sunday, I watched the Tony Awards. I look forward to seeing what’s new in the theater and which stars are on the rise.

I grew up listening to all types of musical genres, but the stage and screen musicals were the ones I enjoyed the most. I listened to those albums over and over. I memorized the lyrics and sang my heart out. I choreographed my own dances. My secret dream was to be a Broadway star. When I was in eighth grade, I tried out for the lead in our school musical. I was told I had a sweet little voice and was given a small non-singing part. It was a nice way of saying, “Honey, you can’t sing.” Who knew? I sure didn’t! I loved musicals so much it was never an issue for me to be a background cast member where my voice was masked by the better singers.

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One of my favorite songs is “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha.” When I first heard the lyrics, it was during those tough adolescent years. It became my theme song. It’s about doing the right thing even though others may disagree with you. It’s about having goals and overcoming obstacles to achieve your dreams. Musicals  have always been an important part of my life. Whenever possible, you can find me at the theater or enjoying a screen version of a musical. The musical “Hamilton” is on my must-see list.

I’m never going to be a Broadway star, but I still dance and sing to my favorites. I’m at the stage in my life where I don’t care who sees or hears me. I also have my secret dreams. Some of them may seem unattainable, but I charge on because I know I will eventually “reach the unreachable star.”

Dream your impossible dream!

 

 


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